The Boat Inn at Lichfield fought off tough competition to put Staffordshire on the map at Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs awards ceremony earlier this week.

The judges praised chef-patron Liam Dillon for transforming The Boat into a ‘very special venue’ and a worthy winner of the Newcomer of the Year title for 2019.

“Liam’s menus boast maturity, uniqueness and, above all, skill and great balance of flavour,” according to the panel of industry experts – including The Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Carter and Managing Director of Inn Places, David Hancock – who awarded the Best Newcomer prize. “He has created a gastropub that delivers on all fronts, from excellent service the moment you walk through the door, to outstanding dishes.”

The award was presented in a ceremony at Lillibrooke Manor in Maidenhead on Monday.

“It was a great day and a fantastic achievement,” Liam told Sauce. “The team are over the moon with the award and we have all been working very hard to put The Boat Inn where it deserves to be. We are all honoured to be in the same bracket as the amazing establishments in the Top 50 list.”

Liam worked for Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley in London after graduating with a degree in the culinary arts from Birmingham College of Food in 2006. Thus began a decade of striving to work in the best kitchens in the world, starting off in Sydney at Quay before taking in Eleven Madison Park and Noma in Copenhagen, among others. Since opening The Boat, he’s gone on to win Best Chef at the Midlands Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards last year and the venue picked up Best Independent Restaurant at the Taste of Staffordshire Awards 2018. 

Look out for our interview with Liam in the Spring edition of Sauce, out in March.

The Boat Inn
Walsall Road, Lichfield, WS14 0BU